Romans 12:9-13 is one of those passages that always seems to get under my skin, probably because every time I read it I am reminded of some way that I fail to show love for others. Paul begins this section by calling the believers in Rome to “let love be without hypocrisy,” and then proceeds to give some descriptions of what love without hypocrisy should be like. For the sake of something different, I will present them as ways in which to promote hypocritical love in the hopes that we might better see the ways in which we breed hypocrisy in our lives.

  1. Instead of abhorring what is evil, abhor what is good. The first step to having hypocritical love is to hate all that is good. Just think about the last time someone held the door for you. Can you believe that they had the nerve to do something nice? It would have been better if they would have slammed the door in your face.  
  2. Instead of clinging to what is good, cling to what is evil. This is really just the flip side of step one. Once you have decided that you are going to hate all that is good, it only makes sense that you will want what is evil. I have seen this expressed in my own life, as well as others. It is sad to see those times when a person is so committed to holding onto their sin, even at the sake of their own soul.
  3. Instead of being devoted to one another, give up as soon as possible. If you still are looking for another way to show just how hypocritical your love can be, pail out when those you “love” need you the most. You know when your best friend’s life is like a country song: their dog died, their wife left them, they lost their job, etc, instead of helping them to bear their burden, find the quickest exit and let them handle it on their own.
  4. Instead of giving preference to one another, demand that preference be given to you. Yet another great way to demonstrate a hypocritical love is to demand that you be the center of attention. You know the next time you and a friend want to go to a movie make sure it is the one that you want to seen, because the last thing you would to do is let someone else have their way.
  5. Instead of keeping up with the pack, make sure you lag behind in diligence. I am sure we have all seen this. We are a part of a group and there is always that one person who lets the rest of us to all the work. If you want to have a hypocritical love, make sure you’re that person. Make sure that you sit around and let every one else handle the work that needs to be done. If the 80/20 rule is true that 20% of the people do 80% of the work, then that is clear evidence that 80% of the people are lagging behind.
  6. Instead of being fervent in spirit, be apathetic. That’s right the last thing you want to do is to give someone the idea that you really care or that you really want to help. So when you know someone needs help instead of being excited to help, just pretend like you don’t care. After all someone else will take care of it eventually.
  7. Instead of serving the Lord, serve yourself. Probably the most effective way to promote a love full of hypocrisy is to make sure that everything you do has you at the center of it. Instead of letting service be done for and to God, endeavor to have it done for and to you. (I hope you are beginning to see just how disgusting love with hypocrisy can be, and there are still five to go… )
  8. Instead of rejoicing in hope, act depressed and without hope. I’ll be the first to admit that this one can come pretty naturally to me. Instead of “considering it all joy” as James says, you sulk in self pity, saying, “Woe is me!” Until some someone comes along and is willing to devote their time to trying to cheer you up. 
  9. Instead of persevering in tribulation, give up. Much like #3, only this time the shoe is on the other foot. Instead of someone else being a trial and needing you to help them out, you are the one in the midst of the fire. If you want to promote hypocritical love, then despite all the encouragement of friends give up anyway. I have to say the ultimate example is probably the person who commits suicide. They lack love for others so much that they are willing to give up on life. 
  10. Instead of being devoted to prayer, don’t even think about other people. What another great way to be a hypocrite. Tell someone you care about them that you love them, and then spend absolutely no time asking God to help them. Act like you care when your with them, but then don’t give them another moments thought after you leave.
  11. Instead of contributing to others needs, keep everything for yourself. This is probably one of the most practice steps of loving in hypocrisy in the United States. You go get the best job that you can, and then you come home and spend all your money on yourself. You don’t stop and thing about the needs of other people in the church or in your community at large or even about needs that exist in other parts of the world.
  12. Instead of practicing hospitality, lock yourself in your room. The final step to practicing love in hypocrisy is to simply avoid people all together. Make sure that you never invite anyone over to your house, and be sure to reject any invitations…after all you’re supposed to abhor what is good, see step 1.

If you have read this far, I hope that you are about as sick to your stomach as I am to be even thing about these things. Unfortunately, I think a lot of us, Christians included, act exactly the way that I described. Our love is seeded with hypocrisy. So let us all take the words of Romans 12:9-13 to heart,

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saint, practicing hospitality.” And may God grant us the grace to live a life of love without hypocrisy.